#14 – Ballast Point Sculpin IPA (can)

ballast-point-sculpin-ipa-can-cropBallast Point Sculpin IPA is a damn fine IPA, and is exactly what you expect from a West Coast IPA. It smells like fresh fruit, mango, peach, apricots.

It pours golden amber with a roughly inch head that fades to a collar as it warms up. The smell is absolutely amazing, everything a West Coast IPA should be. The “sting” that Ballast Point mentions definitely is there. The hops very much stick around and coat your mouth. It’s a damn smooth IPA, at 7 % ABV and 70 IBUs. It’s not super bitter, and it’s not super hot.

Now to the Ratebeer style review:

Appearance – Golden amber, light carbonation, off white head

Smell – Smells like fresh citrus fruits, with malt slowly sneaking in. Alcohol smell creeps up as it warms

Mouthfeel – Lightly carbonated, coats the mouth. It definitely sticks around.

Taste – Tastes like it smells, with herbiness as it fades out. You get some heat, with the 7 % ABV

Overall – 4/5 . A very solid IPA. I can’t compare it to bombers (but I’d love to) or draft (but I’d really love to), but it’s very good. I was happy to see it on my trip home from work, One Stop Market in Haverhill, MA has a great beer selection and I look forward to getting more from not only Ballast Point but everything else they carry.

 

SoMe Brewing launches in York, ME

A few months ago, I reviewed some pre-production (homebrew) versions of beers from Southern Maine’s newest brewery, SoMe Brewing Company. The brewery is owned by father/son team Dave (father) and David (son) Rowland.

This past Friday I was able to taste all 4 of the beers that they have currently produced at their pre-Grand Opening party for a small group of brewers and supporters. They officially opened to the public the next afternoon, and have been pouring great beer to lots of people since then.

There is a good-sized tasting room, with the brew house and fermentation rooms behind the wall with their great looking logo on it. They sell logo pint glasses, as well as T-shirts, hoodies and hats in various sizes and colors at the brewery.

I really hope you’re able to make the trip there, whether on your way to go skiing this winter or to the beach this coming summer. They’re located right on US Route 1 in York, ME, less than a mile from I-95. Look for the SoMe Brewing sign, and the brewery is in the back of the building.

485075_297183230409946_47737077_n

Here are my reviews, and you can also check out community ratings on SoMe’s Untappd listing:

  • Sweet Solstice is their inaugural holiday beer. It’s golden in color, and smells like honey, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. It’s very easy to drink, at 20 IBU and 4.2% ABV. I see this selling quite a bit over the next few months.

  • Box The Compass – This is SoMe’s standout Double IPA. The name comes from a nautical phrase that the younger Rowland heard somewhere once, the practice of “boxing the compass.” To become a proficient sailor, you had to know your compass points, simple as that. On to the beer. It’s a straight-forward double IPA. It runs 9.9% ABV, and 99 IBUs. While it’s malty, the hops hit you hard. It’s easy to drink, without burning out your taste buds.

  • Crystal Persuasion – This was an experimental beer that ended up being a hit. David was given a bag of Crystal hops, and decided to make a beer with nothing but Crystal. The end result was a very citrus-y, easy drinking American Pale Ale. IBUs in the upper 70s, with ABV at 8%.

  • Whoopie Pie Stout – If you’ve ever been to Maine, you have seen whoopie pies every where. They come in every flavor, from local Maine blueberry, to pumpkin, to peanut butter. Despite all the choices, the go-to that everyone thinks of is the whoopie pie with chocolate cake and vanilla filling. This beer attempts to be a liquid version, in a mild, easy drinking, approachable stout. It starts with chocolate malt, and the addition of lactose and vanilla beans turn this beer into Maine in a glass. My favorite story about this beer is that David’s aunt, who doesn’t like beer, loves this stout.

To wrap up, SoMe Brewing Company has released some great beers for their opening week, and I have seen some great stuff in the works for when these are gone. Hopefully you stop by, and support a great team of brewers.

Seacoast Beer Craft Beer Reviews 10/11

Friday 10/11 was a very fun event. What started as two guys drinking and reviewing good craft beers, turned into a very cool time last night. There were head brewers from 2 up and coming local breweries (SoMe Brewing and (the brewery formerly known as) Southern Maine Brewing) , and some beers brought from Beara Irish Brewing. These are beers not publicly available (yet), and were very good. We started with two home brew IPAs, then led into wide-distribution beers, then our local microbreweries.

Westminster, MA Wachusett Brewing Co Larry – Imperial/Douple IPA. 12 oz can. 8.5% ABV, 85 IBUs

larryweb

This was my first time drinking this beer from a can. I think it tasted better from a can than from a 22 oz bottle. Smooth, clear, amber with an average head. Heavy malts, heavy hops. Not a whole lot of alcohol in the smell. Light body, thin and fizzy. A very good, quality DIPA. 4/5.

Downington, PA Victory Brewing Company DirtWolf – Double IPA. 12 oz bottle. 8.7% ABV

Victory-DirtWolf-Double-IPA

While we’re all sad to see Hop Wallop be pushed to the side for a little bit, this is a great replacement. Very light and easy to drink, but oh my the hops. Poured amber, with a decent head. The smell is all hops. Tastes exactly like it smells. The use of whole flower Citra, Chinook, Simcoe and Mosaic hops was smart.

York, ME SoMe Brewing Co Whoopie Pie Stout

485075_297183230409946_47737077_n

As Mainers, we all love whoopie pies. The basic whoopie pie is chocolate cake with a vanilla creme base. SoMe Brewing captured this perfectly. Chocolate, vanilla beans, lactose. What really shocked us about this beer was something the head brewer (who became locally famous due to the gov’t shutdown’s impact on the TTB and craft beer) did on purpose. This beer was created to be a stout for people who don’t think they like stouts, or are “scared” of dark beers. There is none of the roasted, smoky, dark stout flavor that most stouts have. It is smooth, easy drinking, and flavorful. 4/5

Kittery, ME – Southern Maine Brewing – Mr. Bean’s Irish Red Ale – 5.3% ABV

bumper.20191755

Southern Maine Brewing (of Kittery, ME) is in the process of changing their name (I’m not at liberty to discuss to what yet), but producing very high quality beers. Their Irish Red IPA was exactly what it sounds like. A solid Irish Red Ale base. Fizzy, smooth, red coloring. Good hop character in the smell, which carried to the flavor. 4/5

SoMe Brewing Co – Low Tide Trippel – Belgian Trippel

York is right on the beach. When looking for a name for this beer, “Low Tide” seemed to make sense. When you think of a Belgian Trippel, you think of that banana and clove flavor. SoMe decided to make this beer in the same vein of their Whoopie Pie Stout. It’s a wonderful example of the style, while also reachable and drinkable by beer novices. Instead of overpowering banana and clove, this beer is bready in the nose, and as it warms it starts to smell like clover honey. Even when cold, this beer tastes like that honey smell. Sweet, light, bubbly. Wonderful. 4/5

Portsmouth, NH – Beara Irish Brewing Company – Baruil IPA

Beara Irish Brewing had a very cool idea for their beers: make beer with a purely Irish barely base. No American barely, just every beer made with Irish barley. I have a hard time tasting a difference between the Irish barley and American barley. That being said, this is still a good, solid beer. Rumors are that this beer plans to open on St Patrick’s Day 2014. 3/5

SoMe Brewing – Unnamed Double IPA

This was a very good, West Coast style DIPA. Light drinking, lots of hops. The Simcoe stood out in the smell. If you know what Simcoe smells like, you know how this beer smells and tastes. I look forward to drinking this beer again. 3.5/5

Southern Maine Brewing – Widowmaker Double Black IPA – 8.7% ABV

This was a favorite of what Southern Maine Brewing brought. It was dark black, strong dark roasty malts. The color looks like a stout, but the smell is all hops. The taste is a wonderful combination of dark roasts and very good hops. I really look forward to seeing what Mike does with this beer. 4.5/5

We wrapped up the night with something fun. A couple of last night’s participants homebrewed a beer a piece for a pumpkin beer competition. We graded both beers, and found that if the positive notes of both beers were combined, it would make a solid pumpkin beer. Our key points (if you make your own pumpkin beer, is balance. Light, smooth, spicy but not overly, with a good amount of pumpkin. The key to pumpkin beers is to use a decent amount of pumpkin. Good pumpkin usage contributes to a good thicker mouthfeel.

Seacoast Beer Craft Beer Reviews 10/04

On Friday 10/4, we drank a few beers. Not reviewed is the homebrews that are always present in our drinking space. This was a handful of fun beers. We were very excited to try the Blue Lobster/Prairie Artisan collaboration, especially as this was their first bottle release. I hope you enjoy reading, enjoy drinking, and if you have any questions, bring them to us at www.facebook.com/seacoastbeer.

Hampton, NH – Blue Lobster Brewing/Prairie Artisan Ales Collaboration – Little Lobster on the Prairie – Farmhouse Saison – 750 ml bottle, this brewery’s first bottle release. 7.3% ABV.

Little-Lobster-on-the-Prairie-Farmhouse-Ale-label

From the label:

Little Lobster on the Prairie is a Farmhouse Saison that is lightly hopped with Galaxy hops and fermented with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. This yeast brings notes of funky, musty, overripe fruits as well as light barnyard notes staying true to the farmhouse style.

This beer is a collaboration between Blue Lobster and Prairie Artisan Ales. Even at 7.8% ABV, this was a very easy drinker. Very yellow. Lots of tartness as expected, strong Brettanomyces flavor and smell. Fruity, lemony, with grapefruit toward the end. Really impressed. 4/5

San Diego, CA – Mission Brewery Dark Seas – Russian Imperial Stout – 10.5% ABV

darkseas

Black as hell. Absolutely opaque. Spare dark red head. Smells of chocolate, roasted malts, plums, port wine, wood. Tastes of coffee, chocolate, prunes. Thick and roasted mouthfeel. This batch felt too new. The consensus was that if this beer was aged for a few more months, it would mellow out and taste better. 3.5/5

Utica, NY – Saranac Brewery (Matt Brewery) Pumpkin Ale – 32 oz mini-growler – 5.4% ABV

Saranac-Pumpkin-Ale-Pour

This was a solid pumpkin beer. I picked this one because there were 32 oz mini-growlers at a local grocery store for $4. Average head, good lacing. Pours amber. No maltiness at all. Smells of light pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg. Tastes like it smells. Not bad for the price. 3/5.

Seacoast Craft Beer Reviews: Russian River Pliny the Elder

While I had to wait a month from the bottle date, this was everything that it was supposed to be. Up until last night, this was one of my many “white whale” beers (beers that you hunt for but can never get, either due to rarity or distance from distribution or quality).

From Ratebeer:

Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Although not considered his most important work, Pliny and his contemporaries created the botanical name for hops, “lupus Salictarius”, meaning wolf among scrubs.” Hops at that time grew wild among willows, much like a wolf in the forest. Later the current botanical name, humulus Lupulus, was adopted. Pliny died in 79 AD while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who continued his uncle’s legacy by documenting much of what he observed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Pliny the Elder, the beer, is brewed with 40% more malt and over twice the amount of hops as compared to our already hoppy IPA.

<

p> Continue reading